Help Young People: Choose Not-For-Profit Fostering Agency Anchor

You’ve decided to become a foster carer, but you’re not sure which agency you should apply to. With over 700 fostering agencies and local authorities providing foster care services, research is vital. Let us help you get started.

Why do we need fostering agencies?

Fostering agencies like us work with local authorities (LAs) to provide fostering services.

Local authorities can place foster children with ‘in-house’ foster carers, but demand is high.

The Department for Education 2017-to-2018 main findings report that the number of children in care has “gone up in each of the last nine years,” putting pressure on LAs to provide placements.

Why Choose Us?

Independent fostering agencies emerged to meet growing needs; however not-for-profit independent fostering agencies like us are increasingly few and far between.

As we are limited by guarantee, we have no shareholders or anybody in our organisation who, apart from receiving normal employment benefits (i.e. salary and pension contributions) profits in any way from our day to day business operation.

Once our bills are paid, a little is put aside to hedge against future uncertainties, a responsibility that we uphold to protect our staff and services. Any surplus funds after this are re-invested back into the organisation to contribute to the development of services for young people and foster carers.

What Do We Do with Our Funds?

Our organisation is run day-to-day on sustainable lines. Carer payments, staff salaries, pensions, therapy, training, holiday events for carers and children, holiday allowances and savings for children, additional support to foster placements, support to education, family contact, building rental and maintenance, transportation and travel expenses are included as outgoings, among other things. It also costs between £10,000 - £15,000 on average to recruit a foster carer.

How Do Not-For-Profits like us Benefit Foster Carers and Looked After Children?

The direct impact of our not-for-profit operational structure means we can:

  • Recruit more social workers, a direct factor in decreasing caseloads and increasing staff retention, which provides continuity for foster carers and children, and better supervision experiences for foster carers.
  • Recruit more foster carers, leading to fantastic foster parent and foster child matching and amazing fostering households that produce positive experiences for both children and foster carers.
  • Improve practice; reinvestment means we are able to access the best journals and can devote time to research first hand and real-life accounts, important for creating excellent experiences for our carers and a cornerstone that underpins our services.

Ultimately foster carers at our agency can expect high standards of support from experienced supervising social workers who know them and the foster children well.

"My supervision visits support me and provide a safe space for me to explore my feelings and reflect on the way I do things” ~ Respondent, Anchor Foster Carer Survey, 2018

Why Do We Do It?

We go above and beyond what we need to do as a foster agency to reinvest in people and services, a commitment that far exceeds 'box-ticking' to satisfy legalities. More importantly, our culture has been embraced by all those who work with us:

Our carers say:

"Family orientated. Children are the most important to Anchor. I love working for this agency!” ~ Respondent, Anchor Foster Carer Survey, 2018

“I like the fact it is family ran and not for profit business and independent of any other agency.” ~ Respondent, Anchor Foster Carer Survey, 2018

What about Other Independent Fostering Agencies?

There is distinct trend towards takeovers of smaller agencies by large public companies and a requirement to generate profits for shareholders, which could mean cutbacks on services or less child-centric provisions.

Things you might like to consider when making your decision are:

  • How much pressure are staff under; will they have enough time to support me?
  • What areas do the agency invest in, and what areas have they cut back on?
  • What are the fostering caseloads like and what relationships do they have with LAs?
  • Do shareholders receive dividends regardless of whether the company is in profit?
  • What are their fostering values, and do I feel like I fit in with the ‘team’?

This article is by no means the end of your search to find a foster agency. In fact, it is just the beginning.

Why not contact us for more information on 0800 328 3119?  You can also request an information pack here